Monday, May 30, 2016

Helen Clark: Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Special Session World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul May 23-24, 2016

The question for Ms Clarke was on why is tackling risk is so important not just for the world humanitarians but also for sustainable development.

Thank you, one of the themes which UNDP run through all the major agenda setting conferences last year was that if development isn’t risk informed it cannot be sustainable development, at the most fundamental level we see natural disasters either shaking down or washing away or drying up development gains and so not to approach development with a risk informed lens is to endanger every investment that’s made in development and to probably set development up for very significant setbacks and indeed for the scale of humanitarian response that is sadly so often in call before.  If we were looking just at times of risk around the natural disasters clearly where you build your infrastructure, the strength to which you construct it, the level of engagement with your community and being aware of risks and being able to participate in and help direct the nature of risk reduction, these are all highly relevant to sustainable development but then I think the sessions are also calling our attention to interconnected risks and I think if we look at…what are the real risks to not achieving a goal like sustainable development goal one on the eradication of extreme poverty, what we will see I think is increasing the extreme poverty concentrated in a cluster of countries with certain characteristics which will be deep and entrenched inequalities, poor governance, risk of conflict and exposure to natural disaster and these things all tend to of course reinforce each other in a downward spiral to crisis so I think we need to be very conscious of the interconnected risks and address them comprehensively and that is why a summit like this one which is very much seeking to bring the shared analysis of humanitarian’s development act, human rights act as peaceful as whatever analysis, bring these analysis together and scanning the horizon to see where the risks are.  In a sense we know about the natural disaster risk, it may not be that easy to overcome in the year of climate change when we’re looking at worsening weather for the next 60 or 70 years but I think we more or less understand what has to be done with these more complex interconnected risks in countries which are fragile which is the hardest way we’ve come and sadly have seen some of the most profound calls for humanitarian relief at this time.

A follow up question sought to draw Ms Clarke's opinions on the future vision for sustainable development…

Well I might and address the platform just so the total support of … there’s been a lot of consultation go into the global risk platform and I think it can only be a good thing but I really want to concentrate my comment on sight, if we’re going to get risk informed development when we build and support national and local capacities to drive that development so often these discussions about us as developing the national development or other organisations but development has to happen in countries, it has to be led by governments, local, sub-national, by communities, it falls to society to participation.  I was thinking as I was listening and particularly to about some of the really exciting things you see at the local level with governance taken into their own hands to really push ahead. I remember back in the early in the second decade of this century there was an appalling drought in Niger, people died.  By the time the next one came Niger had taken action itself, it used to have partners supporting them but it came up with its own programme for food security and called it Nigerians Nurturing Nigerians, the three N’s campaign and as a result of that they have in place an early warning system that told them that another bad drought was coming but there was time to get systems in place and growing the international pathways and so on. That’s in the basis for moving on to other initiatives, I think the insurances it spreads has an enormous role to play in getting the local products that support the small holders in countries like it.  I can think of another example in Kenya, this is an example they did to prices.  The 2007 election was not a good experience in Kenya, it was a bad experience but the experience was that where the local communities and their local peace architecture because they knew there was potential risks, they could hold in peace and that was then next time to have a peaceful election so my plea really is can we all acknowledge that we’re in this business to support locals and national building the capacity to do it themselves, that’s development, that’s how we’ll truly sustain the risk in formal development.   

Many thanks to Ms Emma Hall for the transciption :)

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